Population Health Improvement Collaboration Seed Awards

Fostering community-research partnerships. Applications for this funding program are OPEN on a rolling basis.

Program Description

Achieving significant transformation of community health outcomes requires an integrated approach that involves broad community and patient stakeholder engagement with the research enterprise to speed and optimize uptake of new innovations. Yet, community stakeholders, including public health, social services, community based organizations, caregivers, families, patient advocates, insurance companies, and payers have not been optimally involved in shaping research.  Lack of engagement impacts integrated, interdisciplinary collaboration, slows innovation, and may hamper development of creative opportunities for translation of scientific innovations to broader populations.

While many recognize that patient and community stakeholder engagement is necessary and optimal to stimulate the generation of innovative solutions to improve health and reduce health inequities, there are limited funding mechanisms for this important activity. Consequently, the Duke Clinical Translational Science Institute (CTSI) funds the Population Health Improvement Awards program to stimulate and foster community-research partnerships that advance solutions to improve local health and health care delivery. The awards also can be leveraged to provide the necessary funding to generate pilot data for future funding opportunities involving community-research collaborations.


This Awards program aims to engage community and academic partners in collaborative research that promotes novel ideas to improve community and population health. Duke CTSI, home of the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical and Translational Science Award at Duke, will provide approximately $100,000 annually to support pilot awards that can be used to either a) develop new community-research partnerships or b) foment already existing community and research partnerships that aim to develop and test effective solutions to improve community and population health. These partnerships and innovations can originate from community stakeholders or from Duke research partners but they must involve both community and research collaborators.  

The CTSI Population Health Improvement Awards program has a several funding opportunities designed to identify and promote the most promising community-research collaborations. These collaborations will work together to develop solutions designed to address population health issues identified as priorities by the Durham community and provide support for community-partnered studies to generate pilot  data needed to develop larger scale proposals, awards, and projects.

Seed Awards: $1.5K - Not accepting applications this year

*Rolling application deadline for $1,500 Seed Awards (Reviewed and awarded in February, June, September, December).

CERI provides small 1-year seed awards to community organizations and Duke investigators interested in developing partnerships for co-developing novel solutions that impact community and population health. Community organizations and Duke research partners interested in working with the CTSI’s Community Engagement Core will receive small planning awards of $1,500 and guidance on developing impactful community-research partnerships and planning collaborative population health improvement research proposals.

Applicants are encouraged to consult with the Community Engaged Research Initiative (CERI) to help facilitate connections with other CTSI cores that can assist with their projects (e.g. biostatistics, metrics and evaluation, project management, emerging technologies).

Request a Consultation with CERI.

Note that any projected assistance from these cores should be included in the budget. Assistance is available to all awardees and includes a variety of engagement support services including capacity building, tools for sustainable and equitable partnerships, and ongoing feedback and input, as needed.


Emphasis is placed on improving population health and the ability to secure follow-up support. Priority will be given to proposals that include the following:

  • Health care priorities identified in the community through community level assessments such as the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute’s Town Halls on Health Outcomes that MatterPartnership for a Healthy Durham, and the Durham County Community Health Assessment

  • Proposals that focus on an area of health disparity including diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular disease/hypertension, mental health, cancer, and kidney disease.

  • Pilots that use previously gathered data in selection and tracking of outcomes

  • Research that utilizes the Durham Neighborhood Compass

  • Programs that show promise and are committed to developing solutions that are sustainable.

Contact Information

General questions not answered in the RFA about the proposals and the review process should be addressed to leatrice.martin@duke.edu before submission.